An MS has welcomed a chance for residents in Denbighshire to have their say on a proposed council tax hike on second homes and long-term empty homes.
Llyr Gruffydd, of Plaid Cymru, who represents North Wales in the Senedd, has urged constituents to share their views consultation that has been launched by Denbighshire County Council on its proposal.
The local authority is proposing that the Council Tax premium on second homes be increased on long term empty and second homes to 100% from April 2024, and then 150% from April 2025.
It is also proposing that long term empty properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for 5 years or more pay a higher premium at 50% more than the standard premium. For example,150% from April 2024 and 200% from April 2025.
As part of the administration’s cooperation agreement with Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Government changed legislation give Local Authorities in Wales the powers to introduce a Council Tax premium on these properties up to 300%.
The legislation has been designed to stop second homes hollowing out communities and to help bring empty properties back into use for the benefit of their community.
Llyr Gruffydd said: “It is vital that we ensure that the housing market reflects the needs of the local community.
“It is a matter of fairness for local people. Locals should not be driven out of their communities because homes stand empty or because second home ownership has caused house prices to soar to absurd levels.
“Local authorities across Wales have responded positively to the levers that have been introduced through Plaid Cymru’s cooperation agreement with the Welsh Government, and it’s heartening to see Denbighshire County Council do the same.
“This is an important opportunity for local communities to have their say and I would urge residents to respond to this consultation and share their views. If we are going to keep our communities vibrant we need to ensure that we have enough affordable homes for local people.”
Plaid Cymru Councillor Gwyneth Ellis, Cabinet Lead Member for Finance, said: “Through its cooperation agreement with Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Government introduced these additional powers to help Councils to encourage homeowners to bring long term empty and second homes back into use for the benefit of the local community and economy.
“This initiative will assist us in our ambitions to develop the local economy and create vibrant communities. We are encouraging people interested in this matter to share their views”.
A long-term empty home is defined as one that is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a continuous period of at least one year, while a second home is defined as a substantially furnished property, which is not a person’s sole or main residence. These powers were introduced to help councils encourage homeowners not to unnecessarily leave their properties empty and unoccupied for long periods of time.
Residents can have their say on Denbighshire County Council’s proposal by completing a short online survey on https://countyconversation.denbighshire.gov.uk/project/717 or computer access and Denbighshire Libraries and One Stop Shops
The consultation will run from Friday 26 May 2023 until Wednesday 21 June 2023. The findings will be reported to a meeting of the full Council later in 2023.